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Alfredo Huete receives funding from the Australian Research Council and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network. Xuanlong Ma does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above. University of Technology Sydney provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU. Research published in Nature, using 14 years of NASA satellite data, shows eastern Australia’s drylands are among the most sensitive ecosystems to these extreme events, alongside tropical rainforests and mountains.
As the world warms, this information can help us manage ecosystems and to anticipate irreversible changes or ecological collapse. Maps created using satellite data to show which ecosystems are most sensitive to climate (orange) and least sensitive (green). Ecological theory tells us that as ecosystems become unhealthy, they approach critical thresholds (also referred to as tipping points).
Ecosystems that cross a critical threshold are transformed into new states, often with losses in biodiversity, exotic species invasions, and sudden forest die-off events. Farms and crops can be thought of as agricultural ecosystems, and they are highly sensitive to variations in climate. As humans we show weakened resistance when we are sick, and we become more susceptible to external conditions. The satellites measure ecosystem “greenness”, which indicates how much an ecosystem is growing.
The researchers developed a “Vegetation Sensitivity Index”, which showed how ecosystems responded to changes in climate. One nice aspect of this research is that it specifically shows which climate component has the biggest role in changing ecosystems. Eastern Australia’s dry woodlands and semi-arid grasslands, according to the study, are some of the most sensitive ecosystems to climate change, alongside tropical rainforests and alpine regions. This is in line with our recent study conducted in southeast Australia since 2000, which shows sudden, abrupt shifts in ecosystem function over many semi-arid ecosystems. The new study also found central Australia’s deserts and arid lands show unusually slow responses to climate variability, which is concerning.
But this might also be an adaptation to the extreme climate variability these ecosystems already experience.
The next step is to attribute the reasons why some systems appear to be more sensitive than others and more importantly, predict where and when the critical transitions will occur. When forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems approach their critical thresholds, their resistance is weakened and they become highly susceptible to insects, pests, disease, species invasions, and mortality. If ecosystems collapse, we can mitigate some of the damage by helping wildlife and minimising soil erosion and runoff following tree deaths. The recent climate-related deaths of tracts of Western Australian forest go beyond a green issue. Observations from space have shown the world overall is getting greener despite deforestation and drought. Rising sea levels are one of the clearest and most widespread manifestations of climate change. Early in 2010, the Nebraska Environmental Trust funded the Smith Falls State Park (SP) Forest Enhancement Project, and work began on this unique project during the summer. In recent decades, eastern red cedar and ponderosa pine densities have increased substantially in the middle Niobrara River due to fire suppression.
Phase One of the project, involving thinning cedars and young ponderosa pines from other woodland types, began this summer with a contractual thinning project on 18 acres of dense woodlands.
Project managers hope to implement Phase Two, which would further the goal of restoring this valuable and unique ecosystem.

Throughout this project, managing the remaining hybrid aspen trees that still survive in the park will be a priority. Staff of Game and Parks thanks several project partners for ongoing technical advice, volunteer in-kind labor, land easement access, cost-share funding and general support. From left to right: Sheila Johnson (Public Information Officer), Marilyn Tabor (Grants Administrator), Lori Moore (Administrative Secretary), Mark Brohman (Executive Director) and Tina Harris (Grants Assistant). We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print. Extreme weather events (floods, droughts, and heatwaves) are increasing as global temperatures rise. For example, over the past 10 years, ecosystems in the western US have experienced large-scale tree deaths and native, black grama grasslands have been transformed to the exotic, South African Lehmann lovegrass. This means they are very challenging to manage for sustainable livestock and crop production under such intensifying conditions of sudden good and bad periods.
Similarly, slower than normal ecosystem responses to external changes may also be indicative of an unhealthy ecosystem.
This is not too different from a farmer visually interpreting cues of plant health based on colour, except that satellites can have the capability to analyse colour in parts of the spectrum beyond our sensing capabilities. For example changes to alpine meadows were attributed to warming temperatures, while tropical rainforests were very sensitive to fluctuations in solar radiation (or cloud cover). This demonstrated the vulnerability of eastern Australian ecosystems to climatic variability and future extreme climatic events.
Slower responses may be an early warning that these ecosystems are approaching a critical threshold before collapsing. The vegetation “knows” that the good, rainy times don’t last and therefore they may not invest in new growth that will later become a burden when drought returns. Although satellite data are valuable, they can’t tell us exactly what are the causes or mechanisms of ecosystem change. One way to help ecosystems cope may be to reduce pressures on the land, such as recreation, harvesting and grazing. But the most important thing is recognising that each ecosystem will behave differently; some may collapse, but others will survive. Here you can mountain-climb 400 meters below sea level, bird-watch among ancient ruins, and see coral reefs never touched before by a human hand. A 76-mile stretch of the middle Niobrara River, which includes the park, is designated as a National Scenic River.
On the south bluff of Smith Falls SP, the cedars and pines have reached extreme densities in the sub-canopy of the eastern deciduous forest, paper birch stands and remnant aspen groves. Cedars and pines of all diameters were cut and piled to reduce the stocking of upland woodlands by 70 percent. After woodland densities and ladder fuels are reduced to manageable levels, periodic prescribed burns may be used to prevent reinvasion of eastern red cedar and excess ponderosa pine. Most remnant aspen groves have been thinned of red cedar and other competing trees by Game and Parks and the National Park Service staff, along with volunteers from the Western Nebraska Resource Council.
The Partners are: The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, Nebraska Forest Service, Northern Prairies Land Trust and Western Nebraska Resource Council. While we are starting to learn how these changes will affect people and individual species, we don’t yet know how ecosystems are likely to change. The new research uses data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (or MODIS) satellites. To do that, we need information on the ground, and consistent data over long periods of time is hard to come by.
From the virgin deserts to nature reserves, in Jordan you have great chance to be in touch with the elements of nature, to be in touch with yourself.Jordan has a vast variety of wildlife.

George's Mushrooms and Morels, the Time of the Green ManThis is a blog post about the tradition of St. This reach of the river is referred to as the biological crossroads of the Midwest as the river’s deeply incised valley is the intersection of a diverse mix of plant communities, including several forest and prairie types.
Cut trees were piled for burning during favorable winter weather during the next year or two. Game and Parks also appreciates funding provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust to implement this worthwhile project. The satellites, orbiting roughly 900 km above Earth’s surface, measure things like snow and ice, vegetation, and the oceans and atmosphere. Due to the size and number of slash piles created in 2010, project managers plan to specify grinding or mulching of thinned material where practical and affordable in future thinning projects. Managers believe burning these piles, located a safe distance from remaining mature trees, will stimulate root suckering in soil beneath the piles to help regenerate replacement trees. Planning is underway for a second thinning project on ten acres during the summer of 2011. Within these diverse zones, there are 13 different vegetation types each representing different elements of flora and fauna (Al-Eisawi, D.
The titanic forces that created the Rift Valley produced the high western mountains ranging in altitude from 400m below sea level to 1854m above sea level.
While the rest of the country is arid, composed of either basalt or Hamada; a striking ecologically rich ecosystem is present which is unique to Jordan and Syria. Furthermore, Jordan has some highly specialized habitats, the most noteworthy being the Dead Sea in which surrounding communities are considered to be of global importance.The nature reserves of Jordan offer the visitor a chance to experience some of the country's most beautiful natural surroundings including the marshes of Azraq, the desert grassland of Shaumari, the flowing streams of Wadi Mujib, the sandstone cliffs of Dana, and the oak woodlands of Ajloun.
So whether you enjoy hiking, bird-watching, archaeology, or simply a peaceful picnic, Jordan's nature reserves offer something for everyone.MammalsSo far, 77 species of mammals have been recorded in Jordan (Amr. 1999).BirdsThe 415 bird species recorded in Jordan belong to 58 families (Ian Andrews, 2000). 300 of which are migrant, 95 are resident with definite breeding records, 111 are winter visitors, 202 are passage migrants, 81 vagrants, 63 different summer visitors and 10 are former breeders. Jordan hosts breeding populations for three globally threatened species; Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) and Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata). 18 bird species are threatened while 21 are on the CITES appendices.Jordan's location within the Great Rift Valley makes the country one of the most important passageways for migratory birds. Huge numbers of birds cross the area yearly, some of which are globally threatened like the Corncrake (Crux crex). More than 500,000 birds pass through Jordan towards their breeding areas in Eastern Europe and northern Asia.InvertebratesInvertebrates form a large and diverse group of fauna.
Jordan's invertebrates are unique as their composition is a mixture of several faunal origins.Due to lack of comprehensive research on invertebrates in Jordan, their exact number is unknown. So far a total of 13 orders and 116 families have been recorded in Jordan.FloraJordan's flora is rich and highly diverse.
Around 2500 species of vascular plants have been recorded, belonging to 152 families, representing about 1% of the total flora of the world. One hundred species are endemic, forming about 2.5% of the total flora of Jordan, which is considered high in world standards.

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